From various people at http://www.revleft.com/vb/economic-calculation-argument-t113038/index.html:Well, I really don't see the point in engaging in this debate, insofar as Austrian economics is not so much a serious theory as it is a matter of blind faith, an ideological justification of the market.
In the ancient empires, Mesopotamia and Egypt and Rome, there would always be a class of priests who had the job of thinking up philosophical excuses for why the people should believe that the emperor was a god, etc. In modern capitalist society, this role of apologetics for the status quo of power is performed partly by economics professors.
The Austrian professor Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was one such.
Indeed. There are two ways to study the economy. One is to simply study it. The other is to study it with the explicit goal of trying to protect the privileged position of the wealthy. The second is basically what Austrian economics is all about - it is what the funders of their research organizations pay them for. The problem with this kind of study is that the "science" becomes handcuffed - it is only "allowed" to show results that ultimately favor the wealthy - thus it is no longer a science at all.
Before we make fun of libertarians for supporting things that real capitalists would never accept, we must remember that the purpose of libertarian organizations is not to put their ideas into practice, but to produce bourgeois propaganda. The job of libertarians - and the reason they get funded - is to persuade people away from socialism. As such, we must vigorously attack their propaganda, not simply dismiss it as being insane.
Libertarianism is the bourgeois method of persuasion and pacification; a peaceful method of repression, if you will. It is, as was said by mike, a kind of farce perpetuated by high priests who claim to be objective know-it-alls of how things should be run because they have fancy credentials. They exist to shut down debate when talk of change arises.
Of course, some of these high priests are more idealistic than others, as can be seen by comparing the "radical" Austrian school loons to their tamer and obviously more in-tune-with-reality neo-classical Chicago school counterparts. The later have far more pull in terms of influencing policy, but the former obviously have their part to play, else they would not get the funding they currently do. As was also said, however, the ruling class is not stupid. They fund these think tanks and organizations not because they actually embrace libertarianism, but because they can ignore all the bullshit unfavorable to them and merely take what's useful. They will toss aside the stuff about ending government favors to big business, and happily take the stuff about gutting the welfare state.
Pathetic, really. Libertarians, especially the idealist ones, really are nothing but goons. Their purpose is to shill for the current order, all while they are supposedly trying to better it by turning it into something not even the ruling class would ever go for.